Fighting Childhood Obesity with Martial Arts
Childhood obesity has become a rapidly growing issue. With obesity being linked to numerous health issues, it’s apparent that obesity at such a young age can be very problematic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity rates have more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents, over the past 30 years. Physical activity is one of the best ways to help weight loss and what better way than to participate in martial arts?
Here we break down the many reasons why you should combat childhood obesity with martial arts:
Obesity is defined as having excess body fat: a condition more severe than being overweight, that can be influenced by both genetics and environmental factors more complicated than simple diet. With over one third of children and adolescents being obese in 2012, childhood obesity is a large scale issue that needs to be addressed and taken care of. A caloric imbalance — when more calories are consumed than what is expended — is the common cause of obesity.
Obesity can lead to many issues, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, early heart disease, diabetes, bone problems, and skin conditions. While it seems like a no-brainer that obesity should be tackled, it is a lot easier said than done, as lifestyle and habitual changes are very difficult.
In terms of calorie expenditure, exercise is key. The majority of martial arts provide a highly vigorous form of exercise. While some media representations of martial arts focus on violence and pure combat, most martial arts and martial arts schools are focused on self-improvement and a positive way of life. Additionally, the martial arts are a fun and highly interactive way to introduce physical activity, especially with those afflicted by childhood obesity.
On top of that, the philosophies taught in traditional martial arts can create a sense of well-being and positivity in many that are key to improving one’s health. The ranking system allows people to have a sense of direction and accomplishment in a way that helps guide their journey, and boosts motivation. This approach within martial arts uses positive reinforcement and build self esteem; a key in having students follow through and create lifelong change.
With healthy physical activity introduced to combat childhood obesity with martial arts, healthy eating comes a bit more naturally. Most martial artists incorporate some aspects of nutrition in their teachings, especially at competitive schools. Nutrition is not only key for high performance but also for weight loss. As mentioned before, the biggest factor of obesity is the caloric imbalance. Speaking from a place of authority, martial arts instructors and fellow students help to encourage kids to stick to a healthier diet, through positive group goals.
One of the greatest benefits to combating childhood obesity with martial arts may not lie in the exercise or nutritional aspects but rather the empowerment it gives one in their life. Self-doubt and insecurity can hinder many attempts at overcoming obesity. With the increase in mental fortitude that the martial arts provide, martial arts can help one not only overcome childhood obesity but many other challenges in their lives.
Want to create a successful childhood obesity fighting program at your school? Watch this ChampionsWay webinar with Chris Casamassa, President and CEO of the 15 Red Dragon Karate schools, for some excellent tips. Want to learn more about martial arts business success? Connect with us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Google+, to stay up to date with all of your ChampionsWay news.